BRIDGEPORT, Pa. — The Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) looks back at the outstanding athletes, referees and coaches who have made Hall of Fame caliber marks on the league.
An inaugural inductee into the Hall of Fame in 2002, Bucknell University’s Dick Russell began his coaching career at Upper Arlington High School in Columbus, Ohio, amassing a 85-14 dual meet record before being named head swimming and golf coach as well as a football assistant at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. While at Kenyon, Coach Russell won 33 of 52 dual meets and four Ohio Athletic Conference Championships in his years as coach.
In 1968, Russell made the move to Bucknell as head swim coach and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1994. While there he led the men’s swim program to a 154-121 record in dual meets, along with 11 conference championships. He was also named a Master Coach by the Collegiate Swimming Coaches Association in 1978.
Russell also served Bucknell as an associate professor of physical education and developed a local swim class program. It was there he founded a water polo club in 1968, which continued until 1977, when the team achieved varsity status. Between 1977 and 1986, Russell’s water polo teams tallied an amazing record of 223-68-4. This consistent success made Russell the first coach in Bucknell history to record more than 100 victories in two sports. Under Russell the water polo teams won four Eastern Championships and competed in the NCAA Championship five times. Russell was named Eastern Water Polo Coach of the Year in 1985.
While it seemed minor at the time, one of his biggest achievements has had a tremendous impact on the sport throughout the country. Russell was the founder of the Mid Atlantic Conference, now known as the Collegiate Water Polo Association. Originally including only a few teams, his pioneer work in establishing this league laid the foundation for the nationwide conference that boasts over 350 teams today.
A 1955 graduate of The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science in Education, he later received his Masters of Science in Education (1967) and served in the United States Army, Third Armored Division, Ft. Knox.
Russell passed away on April 26, 2008.